Neil Burger‘s “The Illusionist” will be the first screening opening the 32nd Deauville Festival du Cinema Americain, taking place in Deauville, France from September 1 – 10. The international premiere, starring Edward Norton, is set in early 20th century Vienna in which a magician (Norton) uses his abilities to attract a woman far above his social standing. The film is one of 305 screening during the festival, including fifteen first-time feature films, seven of which are in competition. Sundance films figure heavily in Deauville, which turns the spotlight on American film.
Dito Montiel‘s “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints,” which won the directors award and a special jury prize for the ensemble cast at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, joins the competition. Set in Astoria, New York in the ’80s, a boy who is spared the terrible fates of his friends believes his life is spared due to the intervention of saints. Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris‘ “Little Miss Sunshine,” which has experienced box office success Stateside, travels to Deauville for the competition, as will Laurie Collyer‘s “Sherrybaby,” which won a best actress prize at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and the fest’s Crystal Globe prize for Collyer. Hilary Brougher‘s Sundance competition film, “Stephanie Daley” with Tilda Swinton and Amber Tamblyn is also slated in addition to Jason Reitman‘s first feature, “Thank You for Smoking,” starring Aaron Eckhart and William H. Macy. Billy Kent‘s “The Oh in Ohio” with Parker Posey and Paul Rudd centers on a woman who has never experienced an orgasm, but goes on a quest for fulfillment after her husband leaves her.
Deauville’s premieres section includes thirteen titles. Robert Altman‘s “A Prairie Home Companion” and actor/director Emilio Estevez‘s Venice ’06 competition film, “Bobby” with Sharon Stone and Demi Moore are in the line up. Ivan Reitman‘s “My Super Ex-Girlfriend,” starring Uma Therman and Luke Wilson is slated. The film follows the story of Matt Saunders who thinks he’s found the perfect girlfriend – but he soon changes his tune when she happens to be a superhero and overly possessive. Also hailing from Venice is Brian De Palma‘s “The Black Dahlia,” an adaptation of James Ellroy‘s 1940s-set novel about two cops who head up a hunt for the killer of fledgling actress Elizabeth Short. Darren Aronofsky‘s “The Fountain” also screens as a premiere, starring Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman. The film is about a man’s thousand-year struggle to save the woman he loves.
Director Sydney Pollock and the Sundance Institute will be among the year’s honorees. His latest doc, “Sketches of Frank Gehry” will screen in premieres as well as a selection of his past work. The 25th anniversary of the Sundance Institute will also be feted, including a roster of seminal work to come out of the festival over the past few decades.
[For more information and a full roster of Deauville’s films, visit their website.]